Virus brings two foes together, Japan and China

Virus brings two foes together, Japan and China

Beijing (AFP) – As China faces increasing isolation, with some countries closing off borders over coronavirus fears, an unlikely friend has emerged — historical arch-foe Japan.After decades of war and animosity, donations and Japanese ballet dancers shouting their support are among the gestures that have endeared Japan to Chinese people and state media.News that the Japanese government sent a plane bearing thousands of pieces of protective garments for the hard-hit central city of Wuhan received more than 170 million views on the Twitter-like Weibo platform.The flight, the fifth of its kind c… (more…)

‘Tiger widows’ shunned as bad luck in rural Bangladesh

‘Tiger widows’ shunned as bad luck in rural Bangladesh

Shyamnagar (Bangladesh) (AFP) – Abandoned by her sons, shunned by her neighbours and branded a witch.  Mosammat Rashida’s crime? Her husband was killed by a Bengal tiger. Women like her are ostracised in many rural villages in Bangladesh, where they are viewed as the cause of their partner’s misfortune. “My sons have told me that I am an unlucky witch,” she told AFP in her flimsy plank home, in the honey-hunters’ village of Gabura at the edge of the Sundarbans — a 10,000-square-kilometre (3,860-square-mile) mangrove forest that straddles Bangladesh and India.Her husband died while out collect… (more…)

Ancient “ghost” DNA identified in living humans

Ancient “ghost” DNA identified in living humans

Ancient human fossilsare often found in Africa, but ancient human DNA is scarce.Intense heat and humidity destroy DNA, so ancient fossil DNA is rarely found on the continenthumans came from. But in a new study, researchers reveal that the genomes of living West Africans may hold clues to a mysterious, ancient hominin — a “ghost” human species that currently can’t be identified.The data add another layer of complexity to the story of human history. They also add to our growing understanding of which ancient human species’ genetic signatures remain in present-day African genes — just as modern-d… (more…)

How Oscar-winner ‘Parasite’ reveals gold spoon and dirt spoon class divide in South Korea

How Oscar-winner ‘Parasite’ reveals gold spoon and dirt spoon class divide in South Korea

The invisible, indelible boundary drawn by smell depicts the severe inequality in South Korea through two families in the Oscar-winning film “Parasite.” But the movie dives more into the country’s social problems, running deep and wide.The South Korean film won big Sunday at the 92nd Academy Awards, including becoming the first non-English language film to win best picture. Bong Joon-ho, who won best director and best original screenplay, became the first Korean filmmaker to win those prizes. Fans were jubilant on Twitter and Instagram.“Parasite” stunned the audience with an adrenaline-inducin… (more…)

The brothels of Daulatdia: Sex workers to get ‘honourable’ funeral

The brothels of Daulatdia: Sex workers to get ‘honourable’ funeral

Daulatdia (Bangladesh) (AFP) – Often treated as less than human in life, there has been little dignity in death for the sex workers of one of the world’s biggest brothels: their bodies frequently tossed into unmarked graves or dumped in the river.Until now.On Thursday, Hamida Begum became the first sex worker from Bangladesh bordello Daulatdia to receive a formal Islamic funeral, breaking a longstanding taboo in Muslim majority Bangladesh where prostitution is legal but regarded by many as immoral. Scores of women gathered at the graveside, weeping for the 65-year-old’s passing but also becaus… (more…)

Living with the Hong Kong protests: the bruises will heal, but will the memories?

Living with the Hong Kong protests: the bruises will heal, but will the memories?

Central has a lot of pigeons, or as I call them, flying rats. These filthy creatures not only drop their faeces everywhere on the street, but also walk around on Jubilee and Douglas looking like they own the place.I usually curse if one takes off next to me, but that day as I heard the sound of sudden flapping by my side, my heart jumped and I shouted: “Phew! Thank God it’s you!”I was trying to make my way to the Central MTR station at 12:30pm on a Tuesday last November. I needed to go home, eat, pump breastmilk for my baby and go back to the office. That was my lunchtime routine … (more…)